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Magical Wedding Decor~Inspiration & Ideas with Barbara Wallace~Wedding Planner

We are thrilled to have the talented Barbara Wallace as a contributor to our blog. Barbara Wallace is an award winning wedding planner located in California and is a Master Bridal Consultant ™. She has twice won the coveted Gala Award for Best Wedding and has been a winner or nominee of four other Galas. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and on the TV shows “Platinum Weddings” (WE) and “Extreme Weddings” (TLC). She was the real wedding planner on the Bravo TV show “The Real Housewives of Orange County” (Season 3.) Barbara is also the author of the “Wedding Vendor Handbook: Get to the Top and Stay There.” She also is the author of “Beautiful Bride from Every Angle” which is a great resource & inspiration for brides to be.  Her expertise & tips & ideas will be a valuable tool to all of our brides. We hope you are as inspired as we are with her words & work.

Barbara was recently interviewed by NBC.  It gives great insight of who Barbara is & just how talented she is.  Click HERE to watch the interview.

Written by~Barbara Wallace

A big hello to readers of The Bride and Groom.com from the new kid on the block (or should I say new kid on the blog?)! I’m so excited to be a new part of the blogging community here and look forward to sharing with you some of the fabulous weddings I’ve had the honor of planning. I’ll also be offering you tips and tricks that I’ve learned from being in the wedding planning trenches over the past decade and a half.

So, let’s jump right into an amazing wedding I planned at the gorgeous seaside Montage Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, CA.

This bride and groom lived in Southern California but the rest of the 120 guests came from the mid-west for the weekend of festivities. Upon checking into their hotels they were welcomed with a cloth tote bag with the wedding date imprinted on it and filled with lots of goodies related to California like sunscreen, fresh oranges, almonds, custom labeled bottled water, a (free!) book from the local Visitor’s Bureau showing restaurants, art galleries and upcoming events and more.

The bride and groom love clean, simple lines so the décor designer, John Creager, came up with some very striking décor that was simple but lusciously sumptuous.

The hotel’s ceremony lawn stands at the edge of the Pacific- you simply can’t beat that view and there is no point in trying to compete with it. Take a look at the image below for two views of the ceremony –one of the set up and one while the ceremony was taking place.

The cocktail hour was set on an adjacent lawn then, when the chimes were rung to signal the beginning of the dinner reception, guests were escorted to the hotel ballroom. In the foyer they found their seating card displayed and when most people had congregated, I did one last check to make sure that all décor was perfect, the servers were at their positions and that the music was playing. We then threw the doors open and my assistants were close by with a copy of the room diagram and guest list to help guests find their table.

What gives this room the amazing look is that we draped all four walls with white fabric and carpeted the entire ballroom floor in white. This provided a blank canvas for the lovely contemporary pink and black décor and the stunning tall centerpieces with multiple strands of white orchids and hanging candles in glistening glass. The clean lines of the lounge furniture further complemented the contemporary look.    But imagine the room without the lighting- it just would be missing so much and this exceptional lighting is the frosting on the cake. Love this shiny black dance floor and the wonderful reflections it made.

Rather than favors at each place, the bride and groom offered their guests a Sweet Dreams table which was set up in the foyer (using the same table where the table cards had been displayed.) It was set up during the dining and unveiled as the dancing began. We were sure to have enough candy for people to snack on it before they scooped little bags of it to take along as they departed.

Planner Tip:

Give your guests different “experiences” for each portion of the wedding day. Choose a location or venue where you can have the ceremony separate from the cocktail hour (you can serve “mocktails” if you don’t wish to serve alcoholic beverages). Then give guests a third “experience” when they enter the ballroom or dining area- be sure that they don’t enter until all the décor is in place and looking fabulous, the servers are ready and the music is playing to set the mood. Open the doors in unison and listen for the collective “Wow!” exclaimed as they see the room for the first time.

To Do or Not to Do?:

The question I hear often is “Should I have a choice of entrée on the response card?” I generally recommend not doing that for several reasons. 1). You will have to track this and give an exact count to the venue or caterer at the last minute- why make extra work for yourself during wedding week crunch time? 2). You will have to have some way for the server to distinguish which guest ordered which entrée so they can serve it with elegance and not have to ask each person before placing their plate. 3).People forget what they ordered. I doubt you know what you will want to eat in a month from now so why should your guests have to make that choice before when they send in their RSVP. 4). Some change their mind when they see and smell the food being served – I’ve heard this comically described as “food envy”- which can slow down service, or worse yet, throw the plate count off in the kitchen causing some of the last tables to be served not to get their choice.

Vendors for this wedding:

Venue: Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach CA

Décor Designer and Florist: John Creager, San Diego CA

Photographer: James Johnson Photography Venice CA

Videographer: Parallel Media Productions, Costa Mesa, CA

Rentals: Chameleon Chairs

Room draping: Finishing Touch, Corona CA

Lighting: Shine, Brea CA

Dance Floor: Bob Callender Portable Floors, Van Nuys CA

Ceremony Music: Del Lago Trio, Mission Viejo CA

Reception Music: Mike Ivey Mi Media, Irvine CA

Bridal Gown: Ramona Keveza

Invitations: Studio Z Mendocino, Fort Bragg CA

To see more of Barbara’s incredible work you can visit her website here &  for more information or to order one of  her books you can visit HERE.

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One Response to “Magical Wedding Decor~Inspiration & Ideas with Barbara Wallace~Wedding Planner”

  1. These are all great tips for wedding planners and coordinators to tell their future brides and grooms